Scientists discover new things about space quite often, and despite the intense and often very expensive observation periods and techniques, we have yet to discover even 10% of what is out there. In one story of this particular kind, two previously known celestial bodies turn out to form widest solar system.
- Both the gaseous planet and the star were known beforehand, and though to be separate entities
- As it turns out, despite being so far apart, the two celestial bodies form a solar system
- 2MASS J2126 is a very light and dense gas giant, with a more or less ethereal form
- The planet orbits around the TYC 9486-927-1 star at about 7,000 times the distance Earth orbits the Sun
- Each orbit takes roughly 900,000 Earth years to complete, granting the planet a 50 year lifespan
- The study is published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
This is a great example to show the difference between how little we actually know about the Universe and how much we think we know.
Both celestial bodies were known before, and thought to have no connections with each other. The 2MASS J2126 planet was thought to be a planet floating randomly through space, while TYC 9486-927-1 was thought to be a star without a solar system.
As it turns out, the two are in the most long distance relationship we know of, with the planet orbiting the star at 7,000 times the distance between Earth and the sun (621 billion miles, or about 1 trillion kilometers) and forming the widest solar system encountered to date.
The large, gaseous, almost ghostly planet is so far away from its star that a single orbit lasts for about 900,000 Earth years.
Taking into consideration the life span of the planet, as well as that of its star, experts approximate that the planet will perhaps be able to complete somewhere around 50 orbits before either it or the star are destroyed.
Further trying to put the exact distance into perspective, the researchers associated with the study tried to explain that if you were to be able to sit on the surface of the 2MASS J2126 planet, its star would look for you as far away as most stars look to us from here on earth.
Since both celestial objects were known by the scientific world before this discovery was made, experts are now curious to see if there are perhaps other similarly long-distanced pairs that they somehow missed.
Image source: Flickr